Most Federal Reserve officials thought economic conditions needed for a rate hike were "approaching," according to minutes from the July meeting released Wednesday that suggested that a September rate hike was a live option. By a 10 to 0 vote, the Fed on July 29 kept rates between zero and 0.25%, where they have been since December 2008. But the undercurrent of the discussion showed broad support for an increase in interest rates. Supporters of a rate hike made several arguments including that an appreciable delay in a tightening monetary policy would spark inflation or financial instability. A minority of Fed officials counseled patience, noting that there were no grounds to think inflation would move back to the 2% annual target, particularly because of the strong dollar and recent drop in crude oil prices. The minutes were released early after a news outlet broke the 2 p.m. Eastern embargo.
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